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Proceedings Paper

The Far Infrared Spectroscopic Explorer (FIRSPEX): probing the lifecycle of the ISM in the universe
Author(s): D. Rigopoulou; M. Caldwell; B. Ellison; C. Pearson; E. Caux; A. Cooray; J. D. Gallego; M. Gerin; J. R. Goicoechea; P. Goldsmith; C. Kramer; D. C. Lis; S. Molinari; V. Ossenkopf-Okada; G. Savini; B. K. Tan; X. Tielens; S. Viti; M. Wiedner; G. Yassin
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Paper Abstract

The Far Infrared Spectroscopic Explorer (FIRSPEX) is a novel European-led astronomy mission concept developed to enable large area ultra high spectroscopic resolution surveys in the THz regime. FIRSPEX opens up a relatively unexplored spectral and spatial parameter space that will produce an enormously significant scientific legacy by focusing on the properties of the multi-phase ISM, the assembly of molecular clouds in our Galaxy and the onset of star formation; topics which are fundamental to our understanding of galaxy evolution. The mission uses a heterodyne instrument and a ~1.2 m primary antenna to scan large areas of the sky in a number of discreet spectroscopic channels from L2. The FIRSPEX bands centered at [CI] 809 GHz, [NII]1460 GHz, [CII]1900 GHz and [OI]4700 GHz have been carefully selected to target key atomic and ionic fine structure transitions difficult or impossible to access from the ground but fundamental to the study of the multi-phase ISM in the Universe. The need for state-of-the-art sensitivity dictates the use of superconducting mixers configured either as tunnel junctions or hot electron bolometers. This technology requires cooling to low temperatures, approaching 4K, in order to operate. The receivers will operate in double sideband configuration providing a total of 7 pixels on the sky. FIRSPEX will operate from L2 in both survey and pointed mode enabling velocity resolved spectroscopy of large areas of sky as well as targeted observations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 July 2016
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9904, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 99042K (29 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233593
Show Author Affiliations
D. Rigopoulou, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
M. Caldwell, RAL Space (United Kingdom)
B. Ellison, RAL Space (United Kingdom)
C. Pearson, RAL Space (United Kingdom)
E. Caux, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (France)
A. Cooray, Univ. of California, Irvine (United States)
J. D. Gallego, Ctr. Astronómico de Yebes Observatorio Astronómico Nacional Apdo. (Spain)
M. Gerin, LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research Univ., CNRS (France)
Sorbonne Univ., UPMC (France)
J. R. Goicoechea, Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (Spain)
P. Goldsmith, 8Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, (United States)
C. Kramer, Instituto Radioastronomia Milimetrica (IRAM) (Spain)
D. C. Lis, LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research Univ., CNRS (France)
Sorbonne Univ., UPMC (France)
S. Molinari, INAF-Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziale (Italy)
V. Ossenkopf-Okada, Univ. zu Köln (Germany)
G. Savini, Univ. College London (United Kingdom)
B. K. Tan, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
X. Tielens, Leiden Observatory (Netherlands)
S. Viti, Univ. zu Köln (Germany)
M. Wiedner, LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research Univ., CNRS (France)
G. Yassin, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9904:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Howard A. MacEwen; Giovanni G. Fazio; Makenzie Lystrup; Natalie Batalha; Nicholas Siegler; Edward C. Tong, Editor(s)

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